Primetime Coverage Helps Fox To Best U.S. Open Rating Since '13
Fox last night drew the best overnight rating for the final round of the U.S. Open since ’13. With a finish at around 9:45pm ET from Pebble Beach on the West Coast, Fox drew a 5.2 overnight as Gary Woodland held off Brooks Koepka for his first major victory. NBC in ’13 drew a 6.1 overnight for Justin Rose’s first major, when he held off Phil Mickelson and Jason Day from Merion Golf Club outside Philadelphia. Fox last year drew a 3.6 overnight for Koepka’s second straight U.S. Open win, when he beat out Tommy Fleetwood and Dustin Johnson at Shinnecock Hills. The last time the U.S. Open was on the West Coast in ’15, Fox drew a 4.8 overnight from Chambers Bay as Jordan Spieth outlasted Johnson and Louis Oosthuizen. Yesterday’s telecast from 2:00-9:45pm will give Fox a win in primetime. The telecast peaked from 9:00-9:15pm with a 6.9 rating (Austin Karp, THE DAILY). In Chicago, Phil Rosenthal writes the "more major golf tournaments played on the West Coast, the better," as the primetime action leads to a "surge in viewership." It also means that golf fans "could spend Father’s Day out and about with the family and still catch the final round" (CHICAGOTRIBUNE.com, 6/17).
GETTING IT RIGHT: MORNINGREAD.com's Scott Michaux writes Sunday provided a "big-name shootout that allowed Fox to prove it can handle an actual golf tournament on a major stage." This is the fifth year that Fox has aired the U.S. Open, and it seems like the crew "finally got to settle into a state of normalcy." Fox' cameras "bounced around seamlessly from shot to shot that provided all the pertinent context any viewer needed to take in the history of the moment." The caliber of the golf "finally allowed the Fox team to stand out," as the net "finally found its stride in its annual cameo role as a major lead." The Joe Buck-Paul Azinger and Shane Bacon-Brad Faxon booth teams "proved economical with words and let the play do most of the talking" (MORNINGREAD.com, 6/17). GOLFWEEK's Geoff Shackelford noted Fox after it took over U.S. Open rights "promised to push the technological boundaries," and "never have the efforts been more noticeable and at times, jaw-dropping," than at Pebble Beach. The net's "greatest advances in golf occurred in the form of repeated incorporation of mind-blowing live drone shots," providing "some of the most stunning images ever seen on a sports broadcast, delivering scene-setting landscapes and even action that capture the grandeur, scale and surreal qualities of Pebble Beach." The drone’s "seagull-level view ... delivers a sense of not just the scene, but in several cases, punctuates this amazing meeting of golf and nature" (GOLFWEEK.com, 6/16).
HELLO, FRIENDS: GOLFWEEK's Bill Speros noted CBS' Jim Nantz "briefly made the jump to Fox during the third round of the U.S. Open Saturday," and he "immediately jumped from giving a run-down of his life and times at Pebble Beach into calling the action when Phil Mickelson teed off on No. 8." Nantz lives adjacent to Pebble Beach, and Buck during Fox' early-round coverage was "asked about emailing his pal Nantz to join him in the U.S. Open booth." Buck instead "simply invited Nantz on-air" (GOLFWEEK.com, 6/15). GOLF.com's Luke Kerr-Dineen wrote Buck "started gushing" over Nantz during his appearance. He said to Nantz, "To have you on our air, let me just say it looking into that camera there, he is the best to ever call golf on television, so thanks for joining us." Nantz "looked bashful after Buck’s praise" and "thanked him" (GOLF.com, 6/16). Fox Sports CEO & Exec Producer Eric Shanks on Friday called CBS Sports Chair Sean McManus asking if he "would be comfortable" with Nantz making a brief appearance. McManus was supportive of the idea and indicated that if the "situation was reversed, he would have no problem with a Fox person on air" (THEATHLETIC.com, 6/17). SI.com's Jimmy Traina tweeted, "Major credit to Fox and Joe Buck here. Not every network and host would be as gracious and classy and unafraid to acknowledge the 'competition'" (TWITTER.com, 6/15).